An indisputable thing everyone has always said in this industry and many other industries is “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” In the world of real estate investing both of these holds true. You have to know what you are doing and more importantly what you don’t know what you are doing. You also have to know the right people to get done what you need to get done. No one can operate successfully or survive in this industry alone. It is a people business. In this article we will talk about some local groups in the Houston area that you can be a part of if you wanted to expand your network and become a better investor. One big part of most successful real estate stories is how people utilized the tools and resources available to them in order to make profits. Some “tools” aka your network include people like contractors, real estate professionals, wholesalers, potential cash partners, property owners, lenders, attorneys, and insurance agents that could all be tailored to the real estate investing industry. You can increase the amount of tools on your tool belt directly by going to local Real Estate meetups and networking meetings in your market. Luckily, given the size of Houston, there are plenty of groups and events around that meet on a monthly and weekly basis. Most of the people you will meet have similar goals and are generally familiar with this industry. There’s also the non-real estate focused groups where simply rubbing elbows with local entrepreneurs could benefit you as well. Another thing I’ve experienced directly is the fact that you are most similar to the 5 people you spend the most time with. If you are hanging out with people with no drive and are content with their 9-5 jobs making $40-$60k annually and strive for nothing more than to be simple and their version of comfortable, then you will probably be in that simple/comfortable/rather boring “rut” with them. If you want to grow personally, professionally, or financially, and in general being the best you can be, then rubbing elbows with people who are more successful than you and strive for more than the same ol same ol are who you need to try and hang around with. Don’t ever be the smartest person in the room. If you are, you are in the wrong room. “But…I don’t like talking to random strangers at cheesy real estate investing events.” Growth often times is not comfortable. Being uncomfortable is something you must get used to if you are expecting to grow yourself and your business at any rate. The Ironic part about this is, the more you put yourself out there the more you get used to it and the more you get used to doing it the more it doesn’t bother you. You’ll be fine! Remember, these people are all there for the same reason as you. Once you locate a few good meetup groups online you must prepare to attend these events. Most of them are pretty casual, yet professional. Dress up nice, but perhaps don’t suit up. A nice collared shirt and a nice pear of slacks or jeans is all that is needed. Also, BRING BUSINESS CARDS and something to write with. The whole point is to learn and to get contacts that you can reach out to later. Now that we have a basis for networking, I will dive in to some of the local meetup groups and resources that are available to you as a local investor in the Houston area.

1. The Houston REIA

– REIA stands for “Real Estate Investor Association” and is the single biggest organization in this sector. There are approximately 40,000 members nationwide. Most metropolitan areas around the country have a local chapter. For instance, Denver has a REIA that I am a part of as does Houston. Find out if there is a local REIA near you and other various bits of information by clicking on the National REIA’s website here. The Houston REIAs website can be located here. The REIA has monthly meetings and sometimes has smaller weekly meetings that discuss set topics. There is a time set aside for networking and usually a guest speaker or two that has services or products or even information that may be of interest to you as an investor. One thing REIAs do well is to try and sell you on education. These include weekend workshops or a type of internship or VIP/Mastermind course where you work alongside the establishers of the REIA or someone associated with them on a project they may have. It’s great education no doubt, but know you’ll be paying for it. Usually it’s quite a large amount. The REIA has an annual cost and these weekend retreats or specialty classes usually cost much more, so they are motivated to get you to sign up, but for what could potentially be the wrong reasons. Use your own judgment and be diligent. Invest in yourself, but do it wisely and do expect this kind of spiel most times you meet at one of these.

2. RICH Club – an affiliate of the REIA

The RICH Club is a local real estate investors group in the Houston area that, like the REIA, offer education and a chance to network with local RE investors and professionals. It stands for Realty Investment Community of Houston. The main difference I can tell is that the RICH club focuses more in the free flow of information, while the REIA is really focused on promoting the REIA.

3. Wealth Club

Another club similar to RICH and REIA. There are monthly meetings that include networking, education (for hire), an online network of associates, and a VIP/Mastermind group (that of course pays more for memberships). Again, plenty to learn and plenty of folks to meet, but spend your money wisely and be diligent.

4. Bigger Pockets Meetups

Bigger Pockets, if you aren’t already aware of, is an online based marketplace for Investor friendly folks. They have a great podcast show that you should tune into if you are interested in this field and haven’t done so already. They have their own blog page that has extensive information on it as well as a way to network digitally with all sorts of folks in the industry. On top of their digital presence, local investors that are part of the Bigger Pockets community will put together meetup groups to further network and meet people within this industry. It’s a pretty tight nit world and these folks see value in starting their own meetups under the Bigger Pockets logo. The format is similar to the REIA, but typically less formal and they usually don’t have education to sell. Everyone is more or less on the same playing field regarding the hosts and the guests. Hopefully the hosts and some of the guests have more experience than yourself, but they aren’t going to push you to use their products or join them for a weekend for education for $500 or whatever it may be. It’s totally free.

5. Various RE Investor Groups found on Meetup

The Meetup app and website is used to connect people who want to be connected. With that said, it is a great resource for finding all the various smaller meetup groups in Houston as well as organizing a place to look at all of the bigger groups you happen to join. It’s a comprehensive source of meetups, hence the name.

Some of the smaller groups include:

– Prosperity – Real Estate Titans of Houston – Lifestyles Unlimited People can literally put a meetup group together on this platform at a moments notice. Some are as informal as 5-10 people meeting at a coffee shop either before or after work to chat about their RE endeavors. You never know who you might meet. Dive into this with an open mind and a willingness to branch out and learn and it will pay dividends. I’ve met tons of people I still talk to to this day through meetups and have gotten plenty of jobs that paid me directly through these meetups. It’s truly about what and who you know coupled with your work ethic that will get you somewhere in this industry. Meetups can kill two birds with one stone. Good luck out there and happy investing!